JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Georgia has had no issues with its practice facilities at Jacksonville University. Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said before Monday's practice he was aware of the Huskers' struggles with the beat-up grass surface at the University of North Florida.
The Huskers moved to an isolated venue in St. Johns — a suburb about 25 minutes from downtown Jacksonville — for their Sunday and Monday practices. There, NU worked out on the FieldTurf of the Creeks Athletic Association.
The Bulldogs have had access to both types of surfaces at Jacksonville U., and Richt said the grass fields were holding up just fine.
“Really you've got the best of both worlds with the FieldTurf and the grass,” Richt said. “There's a lot of rye grass on this one and I was told there's a lot of rye grass in (EverBank) Stadium as well.”
Richt also said players have split practice time between the two surfaces.
“When we work scout teams, one day offense would go on the grass, next day defense, so we just rotated that around a little bit,” Richt said. “Today I'm going to let the coordinators decide what field they want to practice on.”
Georgia antsy for contact after monthlong layoff
Richt and his staff are glad that game time is almost here. The Bulldogs have only been able to hit each other in drills and practices since their Nov. 30 double-overtime victory against rival Georgia Tech.
“I'm ready,” Richt said. “I'm glad it's a noon (11 a.m. CST) game, I'm glad it's close. Bowl games are great, they're fun, that kind of thing.
“But after awhile, it's time to play a game. I know I'm at this point. I would imagine the players are too.”
Flanker Conley set to return from sprained ankle
Georgia flanker Chris Conley, who has been sidelined since Friday by a sprained ankle suffered during practice, returned to drills Monday.
Richt said the medical staff gave Conley the green light to test his ankle 48 hours before Wednesday's kickoff.
“Conley's going to give it a shot,” Richt said. “I feel good because he's a very tough kid. He's made a lot of progress.”
Conley started eight games this season. He missed Georgia's games with Florida and Appalachian State with an injury to the same ankle, which he originally hurt in Georgia's 31-27 loss at Vanderbilt on Oct. 19.
Conley caught two passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns against the Huskers in the 2013 Capital One Bowl, including an 87-yarder in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory.
Sick players bounce back, should be ready for kickoff
Richt said a 24-hour stomach bug that bit several Bulldog players Saturday and Sunday seems to have run its course.
“Most everybody is resolved,” Richt said. “We have to get another couple guys (back).”
The players, including sophomore tailback Todd Gurley, who missed Georgia's walkthrough indoor practice Sunday at the team hotel, should be ready to go for Wednesday.
Richt: Rain slows momentum, but timing was OK
Not having a full practice Sunday because of rain was a blessing and a hindrance for the Bulldogs.
“We had great workouts at home and we've had excellent practices here,” Richt said. “Yesterday kind of stopped that momentum of our practices.”
Before Monday's practice, Richt said at least the timing of the missed practice was better than it could have been.
“I felt fine knowing we'd have today,” Richt said. “It's a beautiful day. So if we take care of business today, I feel like we've done everything we can do.”